Securing Funding for Your Strategy
http://weareconcert.com/reinventing-the-high-street/ We have talked a fair amount about the planning side of building a strategy, but what about the funding?
cheap beer lyrics It is not much use having a wonderful vision without at least some execution capacity, and that means hard cash. Any CIO or Project Manager will know, extracting money from a tight fisted Board with conflicting priorities is never easy, and grandiose plans do not always convince. I believe there are a number of things that you can do to help this process along.
First, and perhaps most obvious, be steadfast and convincing. Anyone who is not 100 percent confident in their own plan will not get their funding. So many good ideas fail to get funded simply because the owner of the idea is just not confident enough when presenting it and pushing it forward. Structuring your message carefully in advance will help this; making sure that the message is clean and clear will also assist; and of course, doing your homework on the figures to ensure they withstand cross-examination is key. Preparation of the stakeholders is also critical, the first rule of management is “no surprises”, so make sure that anybody who is party to any decisions, has had a good look at the proposals, and a chance to comment and adjust.
Secondly, present any proposals in the context of the overall business objectives and challenges. The audience needs to feel that any solution presented is good for them, and not just a technical set of proposals. Make any pain they currently feel prominent, and show how that pain will be alleviated by the changes proposed. Make sure the changes look like changes for business reasons, not just technology for its own sake. Aligning your strategy to the overall business objectives will count hugely in your favour. Showing how each proposal will make each business objective easier to achieve, and that priorities are understood, will also help ensure that the proposals are not rejected. Show that key risks are understood, and can be managed and mitigated, so allay fears that deliveries might fail.
Finally, make sure the numbers stack up and that assumptions are clear. Do a full cost-benefit analysis, not just cost, and show the returns a project will bring. Show that investments will pay back, ideally from full quanitiative analysis, or at least for qualitative supportable reasons. Plus, as I mentioned above, make sure that the benefits match the overall objectives of the organisation and it’s priorities. Of course you must make sure that the plans presented show sensible contingency and sensible resource utilisation and that all numbers can stand scrutiny. Too many strategic proposals ignore this diligence and fail to get sponsors on-side as a result.
This post reads rather like a long check list, but I hope the points will be useful to you.